Editorial

Bug-hunts.
We hope to organise a bug-hunt for plot holders’ children (and grandchildren) on a Sunday next summer, having held a couple of successful bug-hunts earlier this year for visiting primary schools. It’s a great way to teach young people about some of the wonders of nature. In the meantime, numbers of natural pollinators are in decline. This is because of loss of  habitat, and also the use of dangerous pesticides. Gardeners can do a little to turn the tide by growing flowers, as many of us do. Ideally they should be varieties in which nectar and pollen are easily accessible, single blooms rather than doubles. Every bit helps.

Fly-tipping.
A tiny minority of plot holders persist in bringing carpets on site, and even domestic rubbish This is not only anti-social, but contrary to the Council’s letting conditions. It also happens to be illegal. Please take rubbish home. I have it on good authority that the Council will employ people to come to your home and collect rubbish every week.

Cheap seeds.
(Please see form attached to this email) Seeds are pretty expensive these days, so it’s a pleasure to announce that we can buy Mr. Fothergill’s seeds at half price. Please contact Matt on tel. no. 07709 959585 for a seed order form. Cash only.

Pathways.
There seem to be a bit of confusion regarding pathways. There has to be a path between every plot and all of its neighbours, the path has to be kept clear, and it is the joint responsibility of the neighbours on each side of the path to keep it in good order. If you have any queries on this score, please contact Roger Williams on tel. no. 02920 492934.

Strimmers and other equipment.
It is possible to obtain the use of certain machines on site. There is a charge for this, to cover maintenance and fuel. Plot holders also have to put down a deposit, which will be returned when the machinery is returned in a clean and undamaged condition.

Annual General Meeting.
Our AGM will be on Friday 26 April, at the Penylan Club. Put the date in your diary now.

Shop opening hours. 
Val says she doesn’t do much trade on a Saturday, so she is experimenting with opening only on a Sunday, from 12.00 till 2.00.

Julian Goss.

Nitrogen-Fixing Vegetables.
It has long been believed by many gardeners that growing legumes fixes nitrogen in the soil, which helps crops planted in the same spot the following year to flourish. This was thought to be especially true of leafy crops, since nitrogen is essential for leaf production. Which? Magazine tested this theory last year by growing plots of runner beans, climbing French beans, dwarf French beans, broad beans, mangetout, garden peas, sugarsnap peas and winter tares (a green manure in the legume family). Two other plots were left fallow. Both were rotovated this spring, and one of them had Growmore added. The Growmore plot produced the highest yield, around twice as much as any of the other plots. There was very little difference between the bean plots and the fallow plot, where no fertilizer was applied, nor legumes grown. The plots where the peas and the green manure were sown produced only a tiny amount of produce. None of this means that we should stop using green manures to suppress weeds, however.

Editorial.

Many plot holders are now numbering their plots so they can be clearly identified. This is helpful all round. If you would like a number plate for your own plot, Vic can supply one for £2 (Tel: 07594 438669). Alternatively, give the money and the order to Val next time you’re in the shop.

Please also make provision for collecting rainwater. Our Association now pays for the mains water we use in the troughs. And rainwater is better for the crops. We are also collecting rainwater from the roof of the Container and we intend to do likewise from the roof of the Meeting Room.

Broken glass is always a problem on allotment sites. If you see any, please take it home and put it out with the rubbish.

Now’s the time of year when we begin to think of ordering seeds. If you’d like to join the scheme for half-price seeds, contact Matt (07709 959585).

Finally, many plot holders have responded with enthusiasm to the idea of making available much smaller plots for gardeners who feel they are getting too old to manage a full-sized plot. If you are one of these, contact Roger Williams (02920 492934) and we’ll see if we can help.

Julian Goss.

Driving on site.

Please remember that speed limit is 20mph on all access roads, and bear in mind that we have many families with small children on the site. Some people have been warned about speeding, having been reported by other plot holders. The Committee takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that all our members can garden safely, and people who drive too fast may find they are prevented from bringing a motor vehicle on site.

Someone had a new bathroom, and took the trouble to bring all the packaging on to our site and dump it on the carpark next to the disabled plot. If you know this person, please tell them about the Council dump at Wedal Road and Lamby Way.

Autumn in the shop.

Hi everyone. Many thanks for supporting the shop during the Summer. Our pumpkin competition was very successful, with 60 entrants. The main competition was won by Nick Mason, and the junior competition by Jerry Camilleri’s grandson. Congratulations to them both. (The pumpkins were measured, not weighed, I’m glad to say! We were advised to do this by a seasoned produce judge in allotment competitions). Tea and cakes were served afterwards.

At the time of writing the Japanese onions, garlic and shallots are expected. Please come and get yours before they sell out.

Have a good Autumn. Val Finch.

Dumping rubbish on our site

It has been obvious for a while that some unscrupulous plot holders think it is OK to leave unwanted items from home on our site for others to clear away. This is FLY TIPPING and a breach of the law. Anyone identified to be fly tipping will be reported to the Council. And the Council is liable to evict offenders.

We spend a lot of time and money clearing away rubbish that accumulates on peoples’ plots, which is time and money that could be better used on other projects. It is particularly galling when the City’s Lamby Way disposal site is free to use for virtually anything.

Adhering to tenancy rules.

The Committee will in future have to take a stricter line in proposing evictions for non-cultivation., as we have a significant increase in the waiting list and a shortage of vacant plots. Everyone needs to make a serious effort to bring their plot to a reasonable standard. Clear the undergrowth, weeds, etc, and perhaps cover the ground with weed suppressant (which can be bought on site). But don’t use carpet. The tenancy agreement stipulates that one third of the plot should be cultivated within 3 months, and the whole plot within 12 months.

Roger Kay.

Try new varieties of seed.

Many commercial growers no longer grow ‘Gardeners Delight’ tomatoes. As a result, the seed now on sale is not as good as it used to be. The rigorous testing that commercial growers used to implement no longer takes place and the seed is no longer reliable. And a lot of seed is now sourced from countries like China, where standards are not so high. The same applies to a number of other old favourites, so that the authoritative magazine Gardening Which? now recommends replacing some of the varieties that used to be popular.

Grow beetroot ‘Pablo’ instead of ‘Detroit’, cabbage ‘Caraflex’ not ‘Wheelers Imperial’, cauliflower ‘Gypsy’ not ‘All Year Round’, kale ‘Kapitan’ not’ Dwarf Green Curled’, leek ‘Bandit’ not ‘Musselburgh’, parsnip ‘Gladiator’ not ‘Tender and True’ and tomato ‘Suncherry Premium’, not ‘Gardeners Delight’.

5-a-day.

NEW – Gardening Courses at the Meeting Room

Our new Meeting Room (beside the Shop) is proving to be a valuable asset and is already earning its keep! It is now the venue for TWO training courses in Gardening. open to all plotholders, both existing and aspiring, across Cardiff.

Whether you are new to gardening or would like to boost your existing knowledge and skills, the new weekly course, Gardening for Beginners, will help you get the most from your garden whether at home or on the allotment! This 2 hour class will run every Wednesday morning, during Term Time, starting on September 29th.

Course Title: GARDENING FOR BEGINNERS

Topic: How to get the most from your Garden – week by week

Venue: The Meeting Room, Colchester Avenue Allotments, Hammond Way

Date: Every Wednesday morning (3 x10 week terms)

Time: 10:00-12:00 (2 hours)

Fee: £104 per term (10 weeks) – concessions possible.

Existing and New plot-holders will also find the Gardening Monthly course invaluable for planning your fruit and vegetable growing through the year. Held on the 2nd Saturday of each month, each 4 hour session focuses on topical tasks for the month ahead with some hands-on practical experience every month.

Course title: GARDENING MONTHLY

Tepic: What to do on your allotment in the coming month

Venue: The Meeting Room, Colchester Avenue Allotments, Hammond Way

Date: On the second Saturday of every month (Except Jan, Apr and Aug)

Time: 10:00 – 14:00 (4 hours including a 30 min break)

Fee: £20 per class – concessions possible.

Both courses are being delivered through Cardiff Adult Community Learning , with tutor Aisling Judge – who is a professional horticultural tutor and a plot holder at Colchester Avenue Allotments.

Colchester Avenue Allotments Association (CAAA) is a registered charity. Charity no. 1092014.
http://www.caaa.org.uk

Editorial.

As you know, our AGM decided not to completely ban the dumping of unwanted material.

Scrap metal can still be dumped at the back of the car park opposite Plot 121. Hard wood prunings can be left to rot down UNDER THE TREES, opposite Plot 121, and behind the car park, on Plot 10.

Soft prunings, weeds etc. need to be composted, taken to Wedal Road, or taken home for the domestic refuse collection. The roots of perennial weeds (bindweed, horse tails etc.) can be submerged in water for six weeks. This will kill them, and the resulting liquid makes good plant food. (the same can be done with comfrey).

Getting started on your plot.

On Saturday, May 27, CAAA will be hosting the first of a series of Saturday training courses for allotmenteers, taking place in our Meeting Room. Organised by Cardiff Adult Community Learning, the session will last from 10 till 2 (4 hours, including a 30 minute break). The cost will be £20 for the full fee, £15 for Concessions.

The course will help you to:

*Learn about you soil, what it needs and how to improve it.

*Keep weeds at bay.

*Start your Summer crops.

*Draw up a simple growing plan.

*Start making your own compost.

*Conserve water on the plot.

*Get the most from your allotment—throughout the year!

To book a place, contact John Hobson, Community Education Officer, on 02920 631144 or JHobson@cardiff.gov.uk

Some problems with apples.

Bitter pit. Tiny brown specks appear in the flesh of the apple, making it unpleasant to eat. This is caused by calcium deficiency, which results from having too little water. Heavy-cropping trees, and those with large fruit, are most susceptible. So thinning the crop may help.

Capsid bug. Raised brown or yellow bumps appear on the apple’s skin. The tree is not harmed. The apple can be eaten after the bumps are cut off.

Brown rot. Fruits become soft and brown, with raised white spots on them. Rot attacks damaged fruit, so remove fruit damaged by wasps, birds or hailstones before the infection can strike. Dispose of infected fruit.

Apple scab. Leaves develop raised grey patches. Fruit sometimes develop scab patches. Try to encourage air circulation around the foliage by regular pruning. Collect up and dispose of infected leaves to avoid the disease spreading.

Winter moth. In early spring, tiny yellow-green caterpillars feed on the foliage. They also damage small fruits. Later the fruits become distorted, with deep cracks in them. The female is wingless, and climbs the tree between the end of autumn and winter. Putting sticky grease-bands around the trunk can stop her getting to the foliage to lay her eggs.

Codling moth. Small white, brown-headed caterpillars feed inside the apple, leaving a tunnel filled with their droppings. The caterpillar’s exit hole is clearly visible. Apples usually go on to suffer from other problems, such as brown rot. You can hang pheromone traps to kill the male moths in early May, or spray trunks and branches in September or October with a biological control such as Nemasys Fruit and Veg Protection. Destroy affected apples.

Fireblight. The blossom suddenly wilts and dies shortly after opening. The shoot withers and dies. If you peel back the bark, the wood will be a red-brown colour. Prune out and destroy all the affected growth. If this is done soon enough the tree might be saved.

Leaf miner. White and brown wiggly lines develop in the leaves. This has no affect on the fruit.

Report of AGM held on April 7th 2017 at the Penylan Bowls Club
The meeting was well attended, with 37 attendees, and 20 apologies.
The Executive Committee for 2017 remains unchanged, as there were no other nominations.
Chair:- Julian Goss
Secretary:- Angharad Jones
Treasurer:- Steven Place
Storekeeper:- Valerie Finch
5 member posts Roger Kay, Mattew Wass , Vic Donnell, Roger Williams, Sue Wilshere, Simon Thomas

The Chairman explained that the role of Site Secretary, previously filled by Roger Williams, had been divided into 4 areas of responsibility. Angharad Jones was the designated Secretary, responsible for minutes, letters and the point of contact with the Council. Roger Kay has taken on the role of Site Manager, Roger Williams organizes and co-ordinates plot letting and Julian Goss attends meetings with the Parks Department and CAHA.

Both Julian Goss and Angharad Jones thanked Roger Williams for the fantastic work he had done over so many years.

Angharad Jones explained that the Association is now responsible for inspecting plots. These inspections are carried out on a regular basis throughout the year, with plot holders being informed of any concerns regarding a lack of cultivation or the accumulation of rubbish on their plot. The Council retains the power of eviction – which is supported by photographic evidence taken during plot inspections.

The shop had a difficult year with an attempted burglary, which resulted in the renewal of the roof, and an invasion of rats, which caused significant loss of stock. Both problems were sorted. Val Finch thanked everyone for the support shown to the shop.

In the Treasurer’s absence, the Chairman thanked Mohammed Moulani for auditing the accounts again. The meeting agreed that he be appointed auditor for the next financial year.

Roger Kay, the Site Manager described the work done on site. He explained the importance of water conservation, as the Association is now responsible, under the Local Management Agreement, for paying the water bill. He was clear that hoses must NOT be connected to any mains trough – they can only be connected to containers in which rainwater had been collected.

He explained that any experiences with intruders must be reported to the Police or via 101.

The new container will be used as a Meeting Room. He asked that, if anyone had any suggestions for uses, to pass those suggestions on to members of the committee.

He explained the importance of Work Parties and announced that Refreshments will be available in future for those participating in work parties.

A large part of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of the draft resolution regarding dumping on site. This resolution was modified and passed by a clear majority:

“We resolve, therefore, that in future, all rubbish that plot holders wish to dispose of, must be taken off site by THEM – excluding green waste and scrap metal.”

From now on, plot holders must compost as much green waste as possible. To help with this, it is hoped that workshops on compost making will be held.

Any scrap metal must be put in the designated area at the back of the car park next to the A48. Some green waste may be put behind the bank next to the same car park as well as behind the car park near Plot 8.

ON NO ACCOUNT should any rubbish/green waste be left on any car park.

Roger Kay was re-elected as Convener for the 2018 AGM.

Colchester Avenue Allotments Association (CAAA) is a registered charity. Charity no. 1092014.
http://www.caaa.org.uk

Editorial.

It’s time to be thinking of buying seeds for next season. In order to take advantage of the half-price seeds scheme, contact Matt for an order form (07709 959585). Tot up the prices of the seeds you want, divide by two, and give the money, in cash, to Matt. Please do not attempt to give your order form to any other member of the Committee. It complicates matters.

We now pay our own water bills, as an Association. So we have good reason to take water harvesting more seriously. The more water we can harvest, the smaller our bill will be. The Committee hopes soon to get hold of a supply of water butts to sell to plot holders, to help with this.

When in the mood for a spot of DIY, plot holders might consider numbering their plot, so it can be more easily identified. If you have forgotten your plot number, Roger Williams can help you out (02920 492934).

Paths and Fences.

Can I remind you of the rules and your responsibilities affecting paths and fences? Our site is laid out in such a way that adjacent plots are separated from each other by a path. The purpose of these paths is to avoid boundary disputes and provide access. They must not be obstructed. They are not owned by anyone.

The paths are normally half a metre wide. However, where a path gives access to an inner plot (one which does not front directly onto a roadway), one of the paths leading to the inner plot will be a metre wide—wide enough for a wheelbarrow.

Corners of plots are marked by yellow boundary pegs, which should not be moved. If you are unsure of the exact boundaries of your plot, ask any Committee member and we will check the boundary pegs for you. It is your responsibility to maintain the paths around your plot by cutting grass and ensuring that the paths are not obstructed. Normally this is done jointly with your neighbours.

If you want to erect a fence it must be on your side of the path. You are not entitled to incorporate the path into your plot. And the Council has ruled that fences cannot be higher than one metre, to minimise the shading of adjacent plots.

Roger Williams.

NB.

If you change your address, Tel. No. or email address, please tell Angharad (07779 170662). Also, tell her if you want to receive Newsletters, etc., from the Association by email. Contact her on: colchesteravenueaa@gmail.com

Shop Matters.

At the time of writing autumn has actually arrived. For a long spell of mild weather we managed to persuade ourselves it was still summer. But there are now more leaves on the ground than the trees and it’s time to face the fact that winter is coming!

I have spoken to a few new plot holders in the last few weeks, most of them enquiring about weed suppressing fabric. Some were surprised to hear that they could be planting Japanese onions, garlic, shallots and broad beans now for an early harvest in the spring. We do have these in the Shop, as well as the usual variety of composts. I also have a load of spare pots and would be glad to pass them on.

Could anyone needing seed potatoes tell me which variety, so I can order the most popular ones? The Shop opens 12—2, Sat and Sun.

Cheers. Val Finch.

Thanks.

I thank everyone who contributed to the imaginative “Site Secretary Departure” present of a train trip on the Severn Valley Railway, pulled by the Flying Scotsman and the Tornado steam engines. Despite the 8am start, the weather was perfect and there was a terrific atmosphere both on the train and on the lineside. I was deeply chuffed by your kind gift.

Roger Williams.

Growing Garlic.

There are two types of garlic: ‘hard-neck’ garlic, which tends to have fewer, fatter cloves, and ‘soft-neck’, which stores better. There is also ‘Elephant garlic’, which looks like a huge version of garlic, and is used in the same way, but is actually a member of the leek family. It has a slightly milder flavour than proper garlic. And it’s expensive.

For regular garlic, many gardeners use bulbs bought from the greengrocer. But these may not be free of disease, and they may be more appropriate to warmer climate conditions than we enjoy in Wales. Of course, we can keep back some of our own garlic for planting next season (especially Elephant garlic, because of the cost). And we tend to get better results by using the larger cloves.

Most garlic varieties can be planted out in November or in February. If that’s not possible, they can be started off in pots in an unheated greenhouse and planted out in the spring. But they all need a spell of really cold weather, if they are to develop proper cloves.

Harvest the bulbs when the leaves turn brown. If they are not lifted at that time, the bulbs will split into cloves in the ground. Hang the bulbs up to dry before storing them in a cool, dry place.

5-a-day.

Keep Colchester Avenue Site Tidy.

We would like to remind existing plot holders, and inform new plot holders, of their obligations as gardeners on our site.

It is forbidden to bring vehicle tyres on to the site for any purpose. To hold down ground cover it is best to use timber, stones or bricks, all of which can be recovered on the site. Last year we were forced to pay for the removal and disposal of 385 tyres at a cost of almost £500. Money that could have been better spent on other things, as you will agree. Other items which have no place on our site include red and white road cones, shopping trolleys and other such debris. The rule of thumb must be that if you don’t want it in your garden at home, we don’t want it on site. You will be asked to take such things away. During a recent removal of accumulated rubbish which consisted of glass, children’s toys, bottles, plastic bags of rubbish, abandoned PVC doors and windows etc., the Work Party loaded almost FIVE tonnes into a large 17 m3 waste bin which cost us £900 to dispose of. THIS IS CLEARLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. Such costs prevent us from spending our funds on site improvements, and, in particular, on security.

It is against the Council’s rules to use hosepipes on the site, even to syphon water from the troughs. If hosepipes are discovered by the Committee during the regular site inspections, plot holders will be asked to remove them. Failure to comply may result in the Council terminating that person’s tenancy. Whilst on the subject of water, please do not interfere with the troughs or the ballcocks. We don’t want to waste water from overflowing troughs as we are now responsible for paying our own water bills. If there is a problem with a trough, please contact Roger Kay (02920 464556).

Please drive responsibly on the site, as parents do bring children to help them in their gardens. As an Association we very much wish to welcome the next generation of gardeners into our midst, and we would like to make sure the site is safe for them. And don’t forget to use the car-parks, rather than obstructing the roadways.

Remember to secure permission before erecting a greenhouse or a shed. They MUST be of a regular aluminium or timber construction. Constructing them out of miscellaneous PVC doors and windows is not on.

After a number break-ins and thefts this year, we have reinforced parts of our boundary fence with heavy duty steel mesh. As long as we have the money, we will continue to improve security, and the quality of our roadways, as well as dealing with horsetails/marestails, which will require special and costly treatment, and which we can only do with the agreement of plot holders.

Some plot holders are using tarpaulin as ground cover. This does not allow rain to pass through, and it encourages moss to grow. We would recommend buying permeable ground cover from Craig (07944 417528). It is more user friendly, and will not sour the soil.

Thanks to everyone, in advance, for their co-operation in helping to make our site a better place.

Roger Kay.
Colchester Avenue Allotments Association (CAAA) is a registered charity. Charity no. 1092014.
http://www.caaa.org.uk


Autumn 2015 Newsletter

Editorial

MIND
Cardiff Mind, a charity helping people with mental illnesses, has had its funds cut. The charity therefore has to give up its large plot on our site. We are being given a number of items of their equipment, which we will offer to the highest bidder amongst plot holders. We will return any money raised to Mind, and keep hold of the unsold items. The equipment consists of:

Lawnmower, wheelbarrow, strimmer, hedgetrimmer, fruit cage, cultivator, polytunnel, ladder, a few forks, spades, rakes and an edger.

Please contact Julian Goss (07974 015135) if you are interested in entering the fray.

ERECTING STRUCTURES
In future anyone wanting to erect a structure on their plot: shed, greenhouse, fruit cage etc., will need to get an application form from the Secretary.

TENANTS AGREEMENT
At present, when plot holders sign the form accepting a plot, the form is sent off to the Council, which duly sends out a bill for the rent. Rather oddly, the Terms and Conditions governing plot holders are listed on the back of this form, so plot holders never normally get to see it. This system needs to change. But, since Council Depts. often move at a snail’s pace, we include a copy of this Schedule with this Newsletter.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
We have spent good money clearing green waste dumped on several of our car parks. If you want to get rid of green waste please take it up the ramp opposite plot 121. Or take it home for the Council collection of Garden Waste. Or, better still, compost it.

It is also worth knowing that, under the new Local Management Agreement, we now pay for the mains water we use on site. We receive an annual grant (taken out of the rents we pay as plot holders) to pay for this. So we should harvest as much rain water as possible, reducing our water bill, in order that some of this grant can be ploughed back into paying for other improvements to the site.

MAKING COMPOST
Add nitrogen-rich (green) vegetation, and carbon-rich (brown) shredded prunings, thin cardboard, and paper, in equal proportions. (Don’t add piles of grass clippings by themselves. They will turn to slime). Cardboard should be torn up (don’t use shiny cardboard) and paper scrunched up. Loo rolls and egg boxes can be used as they are. Don’t let the compost dry out, but don’t drown all the insects that help to turn your rubbish into beautiful compost. Mix it up monthly. The compost is ready when it is brown and looks like soil. Don’t worry if there are a few bits of stick in it.

Homemade compost is one of the best things you can use to keep your soil healthy and your plants thriving. Adding composted organic material introduces essential organisms that may not be found in other soil improvers. It also helps to improve soil structure, water retention and drainage.

What can I add?
Rhubarb leaves, comfrey, nettles, annual weeds (before setting seed), perennial weed tops (avoiding roots), plants with mildew, black spot and blight, scrunched paper, cardboard and wood ash.

What should I avoid?
Large quantities if newspapers, large amounts of woody clippings, dog faeces, cat litter, large amounts of sawdust, plants suffering from viral diseases, coal ash, bread, cooked food, meat and dairy products.

THE SHOP
Thank you to everyone who used the shop this summer. Many of you brought in surplus seedlings that were immediately snapped up. Please let’s do the same next year. By the time this Newsletter is published I hope that Japanese onions, garlic and broad beans will be available. I try to open the shop on Saturday and Sunday between 12 and 2, but as any of you with children will know, you never know what crisis will face you next. I am usually on plot 56 (next to Roger Williams) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So come and get me. I don’t mind opening the shop at any time. (Val Finch)

HALF PRICE SEEDS
We’ve had a half price scheme for a number of years now, using a reputable company with a wide range to choose from. Please pick up an order form from the shop, or phone 07709959585. Deduct 50% from the price, and give the form and the money (cash only) to me. Not to Val or any other member of the Committee. Put your plot number on the form. Wait till we have enough orders to satisfy the scheme. And you’re there. Please double check that you’ve got your sums right. (Matt Wass)
Colchester Avenue Allotments Association (CAAA) is a registered charity. Charity no. 1092014.
http://www.caaa.org.uk